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WESTERN MEXICO

Wednesday 17th February - Sunday 6th March 2016

Pete Morris

Cinereous Owl! A Birdquest lifer and an excellent addition to the tour! (Pete Morris)

Cinereous Owl! A Birdquest lifer and an excellent addition to the tour! (Pete Morris)

With just the odd tweak here and there, our well-established Western Mexico tour has, over the years, become a very efficient clean-up (or nearly!) of the many regional specialities that this part of Mexico has to offer. This year, we once again recorded around 410 species of birds (exact total taxonomy dependant – 411 using current IOC taxonomy), and again we found a very high proportion of the special birds (or diamond birds) which is, of course, the main focus of the tour. We also added a couple of new diamond birds to the list, including the very impressive Cinereous Owl, a species that has only recently been ‘sussed out’. Highlights amongst the 410+ species seen were many and varied, but special mention should go to the following: the nightbirds which included 13 species of owl seen, another heard, a potoo and four species of nightjar; the delightful Bumblebee Hummingbirds that buzzed around us; the Banded and Elegant Quails; the shy Long-tailed Wood-Partridge that we eventually teased on to the road; brilliant Greater and Lesser Roadrunners, both seen at close range; the amazing variety of endemic jays including the incredible Tufted Jay; stunning Military Macaws; colourful Rosy Thrush-Tanagers; numerous Aztec Thrushes; much appreciated Rufous-necked Wood Rails as well as recently split Aztec and Ridgway’s Rails; an amazing variety of North American Wood Warblers, including Olive Warbler; 13 smart species of wrens; a brilliant variety of sparrows including Cassin’s (new for the tour) the rare Five-striped and the endemic Black-chested Sparrow; the best vireos in the world and many, many more! All of this was complemented by some great food (rather too much!), three weeks of virtual wall to wall sunshine, and a happy and jovial group that were all well pleased with the numbers of lifers under their belts!

The stunning endemic Balsas Screech Owl was our bird of the trip! (Pete Morris)

The stunning endemic Balsas Screech Owl was our bird of the trip! (Pete Morris)